My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Pickerel Lake Nature Preserve, the wood duck curse continues

On Saturday, September 14th, I went to the Pickerel Lake Nature Preserve again, hoping to find a few migrating birds, and to also play around photographing mushrooms. I was able to shoot quite a few birds, including a Philadelphia vireo, but the thing that sticks out most to me is that I can not get a good photo of a wood duck.

In the first small pond that I came to just after crossing the boardwalk, I spotted this male wood duck in fall plumage, and in what I thought was great light.

Wood duck

Wood duck

So I shot away, thinking that I was finally getting good photos, but every one of the images was slightly out of focus. I couldn’t believe that the Beast (Sigma 150-500 mm lens) would let me down like that. I swear, when it comes to wood ducks, there’s a curse on me! ๐Ÿ˜‰ That becomes even more apparent since right across the trail from where I had shot the wood duck, this Philadelphia vireo was in a thicket on the bank of the pond, and in poor light.

Philadelphia vireo

Philadelphia vireo

There were even more birds in that small area, but it was about then that one of many herds of humans I had to deal with this day went tramping past me, scattering the birds. I later learned that the great herds of humans had kicked over almost all of the larger mushrooms that I had come to shoot.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, if I were to ever win the lottery, I’d purchase a large tract of land and limit access to only serious nature photographers. No children would be allowed there unless they were leashed and gagged. Later in the day, as I was trying for a warbler, I had some brat start yelling at the top of his lungs while he was less than three feet behind me, and his dad was only twenty feet in front of him. Needless to say, that scattered all the birds there.

I’m all for getting kids out into nature, but they should be taught to respect nature, or at least other people who go to a nature preserve to view nature.

In all fairness, by the time the brat started screaming right behind me, I was in a bit of a foul mood anyway. I had some equipment problems, totally my fault since I didn’t check the battery status of either my LED panel light or the EX 320 flash unit. The LED light was completely dead, and the EX 320 batteries were close to it.

I’m loving the EX 320 speedlite, but Canon could add a few features to it and the nifty case that it comes in to make it even better. A battery charge indicator would be really nice so that I’d know when to carry extra batteries. The case would be even better if it had a belt loop on the back of it so that I didn’t have to carry it in a pocket or camera bag, but could slip it on my belt. It would have also been nice if they had added space for a spare set of batteries. But, I suppose that you can’t have everything. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, with that stuff out of the way, here’s a few of the images that aren’t of birds that I shot. I just liked the deep greens in this first one.

Green

Green

I found a few coral fungi that hadn’t been destroyed, here’s my best image of it.

Coral fungi

Coral fungi

I believe that this next one is the seed head of a buttonbush.

Buttonbush seeds?

Buttonbush seeds?

Why is it that the insects willing to pose for extreme close-ups when I use the Tokina macro lens are flies?

Fly

Fly

Especially when there are these guys around.

Green frog

Green frog

Unidentified froggy object

Unidentified froggy object

I found this interesting.

Unidentified fungal object

Unidentified fungal object

I was able to get a few birds between herds of humans stampeding through the park.

Tufted titmouse

Tufted titmouse

I didn’t say that they were great photos, only that I shot a few. ๐Ÿ˜‰

White-breasted nuthatch

White-breasted nuthatch

Female common yellowthroat

Female common yellowthroat

There was enough of a charge left in the batteries in the EX 320 to give this chipmunk red-eye.

Eastern chipmunk

Eastern chipmunk

Eastern chipmunk

Eastern chipmunk

I wonder why? That’s the first time that I’ve been able to tell that I’ve used the flash on a critter with the EX 320. Maybe it was because the chipmunk was in very deep shade and its pupils were dilated so that it could see in the low light?

The batteries also held up for these images.

Unidentified purple fungi

Unidentified purple fungi

Unidentified yellow fungi

Unidentified yellow fungi

Unidentified orange? fungi

Unidentified orange? fungi

I didn’t need the flash for these.

Great blue heron

Great blue heron

Great blue heron

Great blue heron

The heron was grabbing frogs with regularity, but it was really too far away for good photos of the “kill”, and besides, I have more and better photos of herons for later posts. However, I am going to add a few images of the heron as it moved to another area to hunt frogs.

Great blue heron taking flight

Great blue heron taking flight

That photo makes me wonder where the herons hide the muscles to flap those giant wings when they have such a scrawny body? They are graceful in flight though.

Great blue heron in flight

Great blue heron in flight

Great blue heron in flight

Great blue heron in flight

Fall is coming, whether we like it or not, I’m one who does.

Fall colors starting to show

Fall colors starting to show

A few more bird photos from Pickerel Lake.

Tufted titmouse

Tufted titmouse

Remember, I didn’t say that they were good photos. ๐Ÿ˜‰

White-breasted nuthatch in action

White-breasted nuthatch in action

White-breasted nuthatch in action

White-breasted nuthatch in action

White-breasted nuthatch in action

White-breasted nuthatch in action

White-breasted nuthatch posing

White-breasted nuthatch posing

White-breasted nuthatch posing

White-breasted nuthatch posing

White-breasted nuthatch posing

White-breasted nuthatch posing

The good bird photos came from Huff Park, where I stopped on my way home to attempt to find the olive-sided flycatcher that’s been reported there frequently this fall. I didn’t find it, but, there were plenty of other birds to be seen.

Black-capped chickadee shot with flash

Black-capped chickadee shot with flash

Black-capped chickadee shot with flash

Black-capped chickadee shot with flash

Black-capped chickadee no flash

Black-capped chickadee no flash

By the way, the images of the chickadee weren’t cropped at all.

Cooper's hawk looking for supper

Cooper’s hawk looking for supper

Cooper's hawk looking for supper

Cooper’s hawk looking for supper

Cooper's hawk looking for supper

Cooper’s hawk looking for supper

Cooper's hawk looking for supper

Cooper’s hawk looking for supper

Cooper's hawk looking for supper

Cooper’s hawk looking for supper

Sorry for so many of the hawk, but it was fun watching it watching the other birds flying all around it.

Eastern phoebe

Eastern phoebe

Eastern phoebe posing

Eastern phoebe posing

Eastern phoebe posing

Eastern phoebe posing

There were other critters to photograph besides birds.

Eastern chipmunk

Eastern chipmunk

Eastern chipmunk diving for cover

Eastern chipmunk diving for cover

Black morph of a grey squirrel giving me the finger

Black morph of a grey squirrel giving me the finger

Black morph of a grey squirrel

Black morph of a grey squirrel

I used the flash on the second photo, no trace of red-eye. So far, the first chipmunk is the only critter that I’ve used the flash on and had it show that I used the flash.

At one point, I bumped into another birder/photographer, and we spent some time taking about both birds and camera gear. At the same time, a flock of mixed species of birds came through the area where we were standing.

Juvenile magnolia warbler

Juvenile magnolia warbler

Juvenile magnolia warbler

Juvenile magnolia warbler

Juvenile magnolia warbler in pastel leaves

Juvenile magnolia warbler in pastel leaves

Red-bellied wwoodpecker

Red-bellied woodpecker

Male downy woodpecker

Male downy woodpecker

I missed three times as many species as I got, but Clinton, the other birder, and I just happened to be discussing the Canon 7D camera, and I can’t talk cameras and shoot one at the same time. He has been saving for one, then he heard that the Mark II may be released soon, so he didn’t want to make the purchase then. He’s in luck, they are taking orders for the Mark II, and Bob Zeller has already ordered one. Bob does the Texas Tweeties blog, and it will be interesting to read how he likes the 7D Mark II when it arrives.

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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18 responses

  1. I loved the frog and the splendid photographs of the chipmunk. So sorry about all the humans spoiling your time, I hope you win the lottery one day.

    September 19, 2014 at 2:57 am

    • Thank you very much Susan! I doubt if I would ever win the lottery, I seldom play, but it’s fun to imagine.

      September 19, 2014 at 10:32 am

  2. Beautiful photographs of all the birds you saw and you made me laugh with your rant. We have the same problem in wildlife parks here – noise, destruction of plants and fungi especially. Parents don’t teach their children respect for others anymore and they let them shout and run about all over the place indoors and out. Many parents don’t set good examples to their kids either. Sounding like my parents and grandparents now so I’d better shut up!

    September 19, 2014 at 5:38 am

    • Thank you Clare! I often wonder why people go to a nature preserve when once they are there, they do their best to insure that they see little of what nature has to offer. The sad thing is that many parents are poor examples of how to act while in a nature preserve, they are worse than their kids.

      September 19, 2014 at 10:35 am

      • I agree entirely!

        September 19, 2014 at 10:44 am

  3. Love the shot of the Black-capped chickadee. We’ve ben trying to photograph migrating warblers here in central Ohio and it’s been a challenge as they seem to be more active than in the spring.

    September 19, 2014 at 7:02 am

    • Thank you Bob! Not only are the warblers more active, but there are leaves left on the trees for them to hide behind. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      September 19, 2014 at 10:39 am

  4. Love the frog shots. Some folks on Grand Island saw a pine marten and took a rather fuzzy photo. Sure was a cute critter – hope you see one of those someday, so that I’ll be able to see what it really looks like.

    Pretty sure you’ll solve the wood duck curse.

    September 19, 2014 at 7:28 am

    • Thank you very much Judy! I’ve seen a couple of pine martins, but seeing doesn’t always mean photos, the wood duck is a great example of that. I’m looking forward to more of your posts from the UP, they are my vacation by proxy.

      September 19, 2014 at 10:53 am

  5. You’re certainly helping me learn more bird identification. Great shots!

    September 19, 2014 at 11:48 am

    • Thank you, I’m learning more all the time as well.

      September 19, 2014 at 2:40 pm

  6. It sounds like the kids were just being kids but it’s true that really young ones probably shouldn’t be in a nature preserve. I think I’d wait until they were a little older and could better understand why they were there. Ultimately it all comes back to the way they are being raised, and that means the parents are really the ones to blame.
    Those yellow mushrooms look like wax caps (Hygrocybe). The red one looks like a bolete, possibly Frostโ€™s bolete (Boletus frostii). I’m not sure about the button bush. I’ll have to take a look at some and see what they’re up to.
    Interesting that the flash caused red eye on the chipmunk that time and hasn’t on others. He’s lucky he wasn’t around at the same time as the hawk.
    Nice macro of the fly! I wonder how you got him to hold still.

    September 19, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    • Thank you Allen! The kid was about ten I would guess, and I suppose that I’m judging other people’s children by the way that I was raised. By that age, my siblings and cousins knew better than to make noise in the woods, especially if we saw some one with a camera.

      I don’t know why flies will sit still while I get that close to them, other insects don’t.

      September 20, 2014 at 2:34 am

  7. As I am macro mood at the moment, I loved the fly.

    September 19, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    • Thanks Tom! I wish that I could get other species of insects to pose as nicely as flies do.

      September 20, 2014 at 2:28 am

      • A good supply of sticky honey might help.

        September 20, 2014 at 7:31 pm

  8. Okay, okay… I’ll send you a little Wood Duck karma. ๐Ÿ˜€ Beautiful shots, as always! The black squirrel flipping you off is especially entertaining!

    September 20, 2014 at 11:34 am

    • Thanks Jan, I need all the wood duck karma I can get.

      September 20, 2014 at 3:53 pm